Oh man readers, I am bushed. Stuffed. Sapped. Exhausted. Wrung out. Conventions can take it out of you.
But it was so worth it.
Still, I’m just flat-out bedraggled. So there may be some typos in this post? Probably? I’m riding a bit of a sugar buzz at the moment, but I am also really tired. Like I-can-feel-this-pressing-at-the-back-of-my-eyes tired.
But the report must be done! While the memories are freshest! That said, by the end of the last day you could tell it was the end of the con. I wasn’t the only one in the audience that was clearly pushing the limit. But we all soldiered on, because it’s LTUE!
So, hit the jump for the last day report. Panels await!
So the first panel I attended was a pretty awesome one titled “Not Your Ordinary Princess.” What drew me to it was the pre-stated discussion of Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, which was a series I enjoyed as a kid and still recommend to this day. But if there was any worry that this panel was going to be the more modern “Girl power!” stuff, that was quickly shot down as the panel got to it.
Now, that isn’t to say that they didn’t address that issue. They did! But they pointed out that it was, well, marketing. Disney Princess marketing. Which they also pointed out was often quite a bit different from even the original Disney Princesses themselves.
Then they got into the original myths. How they grew, and how they changed as they moved from one place to another. They talked about modern adaptations of some of the princess myths, and even brought up some obscure favorites no one had mentioned.
They also talked about historically what princesses were like. They brought up the old joke of “My girlfriend asked to be treated like a princess, so I married her off to secure an alliance with France” but then brought up all the different skills that were required for that exact kind of negotiation to take place, and about how princesses became (surprise!) queens who would then rule, so were training for that through their lives.
All in all, it was a well-rounded panel that focused on a variety of princessey tropes, history, and ideas, from elaborate gowns to skills and the modern action princess.
From there came the second keynote, this one by Kelly Barnhill. She shared a number of experiences from her life—some real, some not—to show how those experiences could then be worked back into a greater story and narrative while still providing inspiration for deeper narrative. Neat and fun, a bit like a reading of a memoir where you’re not sure what’s real and what isn’t, but the jokes are fun and the atmosphere relaxed.
After that, I hit a double-length panel on The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Well, that’s what it started on anyway. This was a giant two-hour panel on all sorts of less-discussed aspects of war, strategy, tactics, Pyrrhic victories, the ability to lose … All of it.
Sands, I almost don’t know how to summarize this one outside of that (it is late, mind). But it was a great panel. We talked about Hannibal VS Fabian, and how even though Hannibal was a master of tactics and “won” most of his battles, he lost the war because of Fabian’s overall strategy. About how Washington’s greatest strength as a general wasn’t his victories, but rather his ability to inspire and keep an army going after losses (his final record was four battles won, one tie, and eight losses, yet his men all believed in him).
We talked about the Battle of Gettysburg, and how reading an army’s pride can destroy it. About battling with terrain as the Romans did. All kinds of stuff.
Crud, we even talked about difficulties in communication, in morale. How a highly skilled army can lose to a weak one if their leaders are weak. How logistics are everything. We covered a ton of topics on war and how nations win. It was fantastic, and enlightening on dozens of topics.
After that, I took a break from the serious and attended a steampunk panel. For fun, this one. But there were some great quotes and insights I do wish to share. The best being a genre summary of steampunk that the panel gave, which was “Tomorrow’s technology from yesterday.”
Something like that (I’m tired lol). Also brought up was the wide variety of other “punk” genres, nothing that steampunk is sort of the umbrella they all fall under, even if there isn’t steam but something like diesel. Another good point was that no matter what, steampunk is a form of magic. Coal just doesn’t burn that well. So you’re going to need some kind of magic to make it work. And that magic applies to the world, so you’d best think it all the way through.
After that? More warfare, this time in the age of robots and drones.
Okay, this panel was … alarming. As one might expect, it was all about drones, robots, and what changes they bring—as well as already have brought—to combat.
And … it was a bit alarming and wild. Six-inch quadrocopter drone that has a pound of C4 in it serving as a flyable grenade? Check. Swarms of computer systems scanning your face looking for the right target? Check. Remote-controlled turrets that no longer require someone to put themselves in the line of fire? Also check.
Obviously, not all of this is bad. But it raises a lot of questions about the future of warfare. There were soldiers in the room who’d faced drones. Not in training, but in live combat. And as they put it, they’re hard to hit. Hard to even detect sometimes.
At the same time, the panel pointed out that some of these projects are a long way from being dangerous (while some are right now). Or at least, they’re dangerous in all the wrong ways. Like Russia’s fully robotic tank, which suffers from just about every problem you could expect including running into walls and declaring itself “stuck.”
After that? I attended a panel of Medieval Courts, Laws, and Trials. This was mostly a history lesson, and I took a couple of things out of it.
First, the trials of ordeals? They happened. That was real. Even the odd ones like “eat this much bread and cheese, if you choke you are guilty.”
Second, there were three kinds of classes court was called between: Noble, non-noble, and clergy. So you could have a Nobleman taking a non-noble to court, a clergy taking a commoner to court … you get the idea.
Lastly, while trial by combat was real, it was pretty much confined to Germany.
Not exactly my area of expertise … but that’s why I went to learn!
Lastly, the final panel was on metallurgy and how this affected civilization. Not gonna lie, this one got technical, as in really technical, and tired as I was, I kind of zoned out. Still a great panel, and learned a bit about how ancient societies formed arms and armor, from when blast furnaces were developed to older methods of smelting metals out of the ground.
Okay, yeah, I can already see this recap is not quite up to the standard of the prior days. But .. I’m beat. My brain feels like a syrup sliding around in my head.
But oh man, was it worth it.
I love LTUE, folks. I love hanging out with other authors and chatting about books and writing. I like meeting fans. Crud, I like meeting other authors and taking a bit to be a fan for a minute.
And it’s great to make connections too. To network and get new fans. It’s fun to be asked ‘So what’s your book?’ and then tell someone. To watch their face light up and hear “Oh man, I’ve got to read that!”
Hey, and even to collect a few new autographs in my autograph book.
I’m dropping off here, so I’ll end this final post on the 2019 LTUE with this: IT WAS AWESOME. If you can go, you should go. Travel for it if you must, but go! It’s fantastic.
And with that, I sign off. See you Monday.